Best Pellet Smokers: 11 Detailed 2022 Reviews
Gone are the days of sweating over the flames, painstakingly trying to maintain your temperature every fifteen minutes in rain, hail or shine. When pellet smokers burst onto the scene, barbecue fans thought it was just a flash in the pan, if youll pardon the pun. But, with the most respectable manufacturers in the market offering up their version of this set and forget, wood-fired smoker, the world is finally cottoning on to the fact that the pellet grill is here to stay.
And, if you ask us, we couldnt be happier about it! Mastering the art of barbecuing on an offset smoker may earn you serious browning points with traditionalists. But, theres a good reason that pellet smokers are becoming so popular, even on the competitive barbecue circuit.
In this article, we review the 11 best pellet smokers 2022 has to offer . Youll also find pros and cons, as well as stats for each model recommended.
All of our picks have been selected for their versatility, ease of use, end results, and overall value for money.
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Where Did Pellet Smokers Come From
In 1982, Oregon’s Traeger Heating introduced a home heating system that burned wood pellets made from compressed sawdust, a by-product of local lumber milling. Since demand for these furnaces and wood pellets dropped off after winter, Traeger came up with a grill that would burn pellets and keep the business afloat over the summer months.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go un-imitated, and soon competitors began popping up. In the early days, most pellet smoker controllers had only three settingslow, medium, high and there was no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. So, whether you were smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day or six pork butts during a blizzard, the controller only knew pellet-feed on and off times for its standard settings. It had no information on the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber.
Using accurate digital thermometers to monitor cooking and internal meat temperatures is essential to being all that you can be in the backyard. Unlike the caveman-era heat estimators built into the lids of most grills and smokers, modern pellet smoker LED displays will give you the real story of what’s happening in your smoker. Of course, if your smoker doesn’t come with a dual-display system that monitors both cooking and meat temps, you’ll still need an accurate digital meat thermometer.
Pros And Cons Of A Pellet Grill
Here are a few pros and cons of these smokers and grills:
- A Pellet grill offers unparalleled warmth control. Being an electric controlled grill, pellet grills have regulators that direct the temperature for the client.
- Pellet grills are viewed as a spot and hold up the grill.
- Since the warmth is controlled so well, pellet grills are flexible. For one value you can get a stove, a grill, and a smoker.
- You can truly put the food on the grill and leave. Something you cant do with gas or charcoal grill.
- They are bad for wet conditions, we are grilling with wood all things considered.
- The grill is electric as is at the impulses of power. I could toss my charcoal grill in my vehicle and take it anyplace. The pellet grills should be connected.
Recommended Reading: Temperature For Pork Chops On The Grill
Best Portable Pellet Smoker Green Mountain Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
Why youll love it:
A unique, bold take on pellet grilling.
For pellet grilling on the go, this is pretty much the only option out there. That alone makes the Green Mountain Davy Crockett appealing, but its performance says a lot more, with all the benefits in an incredibly compact package.
No corners cut here everything is up to par in terms of performance and construction, with a total grilling area comparable than most portable grills.The only rub here might be the price premium quality demands premium cost, and this will run you a fair bit more than your average portable grill.
What we liked
What we didnt like
- Grease Catcher: Its grease catcher is a simple bucket attached to a grease chute. This one fares even worse, as it is precariously perched on the clope of the chute and likely to slip once the bucket gets heavy enough.
Great smoked flavor doesnt have to stay home.
Whether its tailgating or camping, grilling on the go is often part of the experience. This model is also one of the best pellet grills for searing.
Why youll love it:
Bigger isnt always better.
Many people just dont have space for massive grill, or just dont want one. Having a grill you can take along on your next tailgate or camping trip is a nice bonus.
Despite its small size, this Traeger still has 572 square inches of cooking area. Thats enough for two whole chickens or 12 hamburgers.
What we liked
What we didnt like
Bonus: Weber Smokefire Ex6
Weber is one of the most reputable brands in the outdoor cooking industry, but theyre a new kid on the block when it comes to pellet grills. In fact, Weber Pellet Grills were first released in February 2020.
Even though they dont have a ton of history, the Weber SmokeFire EX6 Wood Pellet Grill is worth your consideration, although with a fair warning.
Weber pellet grills had been experiencing an alarmingly high amount of quality control issues they have since recalled the initial release and now sell an updated model which has been performing better. Customers had been complaining about faulty parts, and in particular it seemed that it was near impossible to manage your temperature on some of the units.
Now that it appears Weber has sorted these issues out, their SmokeFire series is worth considering.
Similar to the Camp Chef SmokePro, the Weber SmokeFire EX6 boasts a best in class temperature range of 200-600°F. This means anything is possible when it comes to smoking, searing, grilling, or baking on this pellet grill.
Like a lot of other Weber grills, the EX6 has their signature high quality porcelain enameled finish. This finish does a great job at preventing rust, cracks, and resists weather elements quite well.
Cooking space wise, youre afforded a whopping 1,008 square inches of cooking surface area.
Under the hood, a DC powered engine does a fantastic job of keeping things running smoothly and is also specifically made to prevent auger jams.
Things We Like:
Recommended Reading: How To Cook Frozen Turkey Burgers On George Foreman
Best Small Pellet Grill Pellethead Green Mountain Grill
Available at amazon.com
The Pellethead Green Mountain Grill is specifically designed for camping, hiking, or for trekking purposes. Featuring a compact design with only 219 sq. inches of space, the pellet grill can easily adjust 4 to 5 hamburgers with some extra hotdogs and bacon. Moreover, precision temperature control included in this appliance offers an even heat distribution and will keep the food items tender, smoky, and drippy at the same time.
For the moment, the best small pellet grill comes with a small oil wastage tray where it collects drips, and grease accordingly. The construction is durable with the use of stainless steel. Besides, the grill offers a temperature range of 150°F to 550°F. Utilizing this temperature, users will not face issues while preparing smoky food in mountainous areas. The presence of a digital control panel with one button press ignition allows the grill to be a perfect option for beginners as well.
Pellethead Green Mountain Key Specifications:
- 219 sq. inches of cooking space.
- Weighs only 63 lbs.
Available at amazon.com
Apart from other features, the pellet grill is capable of reaching up to 450°F temperature. Advanced Grill Logic is there to ensure consistent and even heating to get perfect results. Meanwhile, Ranger wood pellet grill also comes with 8 lbs. hopper capacity. Its easy to clean, maintain, and can be used on a go for camping, trekking, and hiking as well.
Traeger Grills Ranger Key Specifications:
Best Pellet Smoker For Beginners
If you’re looking for something reasonably priced and a little on the simpler side, Camp Chef’s SmokePro DLX is the perfect grill for beginners. It has an easily adjustable PID controller that will help you learn about temperature regulation and smoke levels so you can figure out the best way to barbecue the way you like it. It also is a great grill to experiment with different kinds of wood pellets to see how they affect the flavor of the meat, which will really take your skills to the next level.
Reviews such as one from King of the Coals commend the ease and efficiency of SmokePro DLX, while also shouting out its quick clean-up. “The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is a brilliant smoker that is at a price point that makes quality pellet smoking available to a lot more people,” the review reads.
The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is available on Amazon for $463.
Recommended Reading: Temp To Cook Pork Chops On Grill
Best Pellet Smokers Of 2022
Pellet smokers offer incredible cooking versatility unlike any other type of barbecue. With wood-fuelled fire and motorized control, they offer BBQ fans convenience and versatility in equal measure. These best pellet smokers will take your outdoor cooking to the next level.
Pellet grills and smokers offer many of the same benefits and features as charcoal smoking or gas grilling. The crucial difference is that they dont use lump charcoal or propane gas. Pellet cookers use wood pellets to get their beautiful and unique aromas and flavors. Using an automatic feed and auger to feed the firebox, theyre easy to control and use to achieve delicious barbecue flavors.
At a Glance: Our Top 3 Picks
- Best Budget Option:Pit Boss 700FBBudget-friendly with a side searing plate and automatic feed make this a great option for newcomers.
Camp Chef 24 Wifi Woodwind
As a step down price-wise from the recteq, the Camp Chef 24 Woodwind gives you a lot of the same features without the same ultra high quality build.
Dont get us wrong, its still a solidly built grill. Youre just looking at a mainly powder-coated steel design with a stainless steel lid and enamel-coated grates instead of basically stainless steel everything.
Youve still got WiFi, a PID-style controller and a large temperature range so you can smoke, grill, sear and bake.
But, what we really love about all of the Camp Chefs is slide n grill. Instead of just having high indirect heat to grill on, you can actually push a lever to move the heat deflector aside to grill right over the pellet fire. It definitely gives you that next level of flavor and crispiness.
And, another awesome thing about the Camp Chef Woodwind 24, is that youve got the flexibility to choose the smoke level without changing the cooking temperature.
The Woodwind 24 has a roomy 800 square inches of cooking space split between 2 racks with a decent 22 pound pellet hopper.
Adding to the value of the Camp Chef Woodwind 24, it also comes with 4 meat probes, a sweet ash clean-out system and a full color screen controller. Theres even the option to add the gas-powered sidekick grill for not a lot extra.
Read Also: How Long To Cook Boneless Chicken Breast On Gas Grill
Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package Review
The Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package may not look as fancy as our best in class, but its an excellent choice for avid grillers and novices alike. Its greatest highlight is the included coal basket that is smartly sized to help you smoke foods to perfection.
Like the Oklahoma Joes, the smoker comes with an included grate and removable hooks and hangers. Its capacity is slightly smaller but still sufficient for up to six people.
This ugly drum grill features a standard design with legs and side handles. It doesnt have mobility wheels, but its relatively easy to move around. No doubt, true value for money.
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Camp Chef Woodwind Overview & First Impressions
The Woodwind is available in two sizes. You can get the mid-sized 24 model, which comes with a combined 811 square inches of cooking surface, or spend a little extra and get the 36 model which will give you 1236 square inches to play with.
For this review, we went with the 24, which I think will be the model most people will go for.
Camp Chef has made a big deal about their new and improved digital PID controller. Setting your grill temperature is easy, but the more interesting addition is the option to set your smoke level.
Lets get the main specs out of the way, run through my first impressions and then get stuck into my experience cooking on the Woodwind.
Camp Chef Woodwind 24 Specifications
|Cooking Area||811 sq in|
|Pellet Hopper Capacity|
|160º F 500ºF|
|Shelves & Storage||Two side shelves, one front shelf|
The Woodwind uses the same slide and grill technology as the cheaper SmokePro SG and is similar to what Pit Boss offers with their pellet grills.
Essentially this lets you create a high heat sear zone by exposing the direct flame.
I measured 650-700°F with the grill set on high and using direct flame mode.
This worked better than I expected, but I was much more excited by the promised searing capabilities of the SideKick attachment.
Ill go through all my experiences using that attachment later in the review, but for now, Ill just say I highly recommend getting it.
What I like:
What I dont like:
Recommended Reading: What Temperature To Cook Pork On Grill
Construction Build And Materials
Perhaps the most integral factor for good heat retention is smoker build quality, and the material with which your smoker is built is central to that.
The majority of pellet grills are made from some sort of painted stainless steel, although high-end grills are often made with 304 stainless steel for maximum longevity.
Look out for marine-grade stainless steel. It might cost a bit extra, but is almost guaranteed to last you for life .
Be careful with powder-coated steel. While still fairly durable, once the paint cracks it can allow your grill to corrode easily soon after.
How To Find The Right Pellets For Your Pellet Grill
Pellet grills arent hard to find and arent expensive at all, but you might end up buying something that infuses flavor in your food that isnt palatable. Therefore you need to be very keen as to which pellets to buy. There is no compromise on the flavor of your food. Therefore, you should get pellets that are of good quality and give an exquisite flavor to your food. Listed below are some of the factors to consider before buying pellets for your grill.
You May Like: Steaks On Traeger
Q: Do I Have To Use Pellets From The Smoker Manufacturer
No, you dont have to use pellets from the smoker manufacturer. Most smokers will run fine with different brands of pellets. Rather than brand, pellet performance depends on how you care for and store them. Pellets should be stored inside a dry area, either in a sealed bag or in a moisture proof plastic container. Many manufacturers offer pellet containers, but a five gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid also works well. If you have pellets that are swollen or softened due to moisture, you should discard them.
How To Choose Wood Pellets For Smoking
Youve picked your pellet grill, but before you start cooking on it or grilling with it how can you tell if the pellets are of high quality? Lets find out what we should be looking for.
A good wood pellet starts off slow and then gradually heats up to a constant temperature instead of going straight from cold to hot as a low-quality one will do.
Hard Type Wood or Soft Type Wood
Some people prefer hardwood pellets because they are stable and burn at a consistent temperature. They provide pure, thick smoke which means that the smoker will be enjoying their meal for longer than with softwood pellets where there is more ash production due to inconsistent burning temperatures.
Softwood pellets are perfect for those who want to go green. With a higher BTU, these pellets burn out faster than hardwoods and contain less lignin which is great news if youre sensitive about the environment because it means that they have fewer chemicals in them.
Hardwood is great for slow, low-temperature smoking. Softwoods are perfect if you need to cook large quantities of food quickly and efficiently.
Which wood are you looking for? Different types of woods offer different flavors and levels of smokiness to your meats. Some can be mild, while others pack a punch! We have listed some good choices here:
Ash Content of Wood Pellets
Moisture Content of Wood Pellets
Recommended Reading: How Long Grill Boneless Chicken Breast
Features To Look Out For
If you havent looked for a new grill in some time, you might be surprised at how attractive the entry-level models can be. Many of these are now available in stainless steel, which gives your backyard a more modern appeal. If you buy one of the latest models, you can also benefit from some of the new features on offer.
Some grills come with built-in containers to hold your wood chips and on occasion, a smoke chamber. You might also come across sear stations, rotisseries, side burners and built-in thermometers, all of which have their uses. Like many other appliances, grills are getting smarter too with some offering Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. With this, you can get notified when its time to flip the burgers, baste your dish or serve up. It can even let you know when its running low on gas.
Be on the lookout for hooks on which to hold your tools as well its a simple, but useful addition which you can find regardless of the price. Side tables are convenient as well for placing dishes. Removable ash catchers and drip pans are also good to have as they help with cleaning up.
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Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, must-have home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy how to features.